Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding the Square Within


A Flora for a Roma is a 14x11 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

Inside every rectangle is a square. Well, of course, you can find many squares. But the one I’m referring to is the square whose sides are the same length as the short side of the rectangle.
As illustrated by the dashed line inside the rectangle below:



This sort of square is called a rabatment. Why this lesson in geometry?
Simple. If you put the major elements of your painting within the rabatment, you will have taken a big step toward a good and interesting composition. Cassatt used rabatments as did Winslow Homer and most especially Degas.   Rabatment explains some of Degas’ most elegant designs, those wonderful ballet studio paintings where empty floor space takes up a third or more of the canvas. 

Elements outside the rabatment often lead the viewer’s eye into the square and should be secondary to those contained within the square portion. There are many interesting things an artist can do with rabatment. With A Flora for a Roma, I’m just beginning to explore.

 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

So Busy Composing My Thoughts!


A Bermuda Shorts Day is an 18x24 oil painted from life by Shirley Fachilla. 
On September 14th, I'll be teaching a one day workshop focusing on composition. When I began gathering my thoughts on this enterprise, I thought it would be very straightforward. I wanted to emphasize how easy it can be to achieve a painting you like (and might want to frame) when painting either in plein air or painting the figure from life in an open studio... easy if you pay attention to composition issues before you paint.
Of course, it won't always result in a painting you'll be proud of (too many other factors can intervene), but sometimes it does. And when it does, it feels very good. For instance, the guy shown above was painted in a morning in an open studio. He won a Meritorious Entry in the latest Richeson75 Figurative Annual Exhibit which made me quite happy.
Anyway, after I started planning and thinking, my lesson started expanding exponentially. I still plan to lay out my thoughts on quick composing whether in the field or open studio. And we'll practice what I'm preaching! But I do plan to include more, for the more I thought, read and looked, the more I realized just how truly vital good design is. Now I'm convinced that an artist's approach to composition is a big factor in that artist's style, and the effectiveness of that artist's message.
I hope and think our little group will have a very good and informative time discussing and planning good design. And I'm going to try to give everyone take-home thoughts to explore long after our day is done.
Here's a full listing of the day-long workshops sponsored this September by the Chestnut Group, here in Nashville. You just might find one or more that appeal.

Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...